Friday, 7 November 2014

Puns and grumbles, November 7th.
It was raining at 8am, and 9am and 10am and 10.30am when six of us met at the Terrace Cafe in Wooler. A welcoming cafe, lovely ladies serving tea, coffee and bacon sandwiches. Still a light 13 stones  (182 pounds) I stuck to tea, as did two other gadgies.
By 11am the rain had eased off so we left the cars infront of a closed warehouse and set off for the day's walk.
The walk starts in Wooler: A1, A697 and park up. The map for most of the walk is OSExplorer 340, but some of it wanders onto the adjacent sheet 339 or even OL 16.

                                                It used to be a freight company yard, now it
                                                             makes a useful car park.
Crossing the A697 and Wooler Water we headed up Brewery  Lane, passing the cricket ground on the right, a quad bike centre on the left but no brewery. The road here is part of St. Cuthbert's Way which finishes at Holy Island, or Melrose if you go the other way. After about a mile and three quarters we followed the marker on the left across fields and through woodland, down a very slippy path and came out on the road which crosses the River Till by a rather fine arch bridge.
                                                          So far the path was well marked.
We followed the road to Weetwood Hall and then continued on the green lane uphill. When the lane ended we continued across fields, looking for the cup and ring carvings marked on the map but we failed to spot them.
                                          We did stop at the Trig Point to discuss the route
                                                      Herbieing at the Shepherd's House
At the Shepherd's House we called a Herbie Spot and sat on some convenient rocks for a feast of sandwiches, McVities Flapjacks, Individual Bramley Apple Pies, Ginger Whirls and a superb moist cake from Mrs A.
                                                  The bump in the middle is Yeavering Bell.
                                           Hedgehope on the left, Cheviot in the cloud. Wooler below.
Dave pointed out the hills occupied by the opposing Scottish and English armies at the Battle of Humbleton fought on September 14th, 1402. The English were led by good old Harry Hotspur.
 "From that hill," said Dave, "the English archers peppered the Scots."
"Was that an assault?" asked Brian politely, "or a peppering?"
Lunch over we continued across Doddington Moor to Wooler Golf Course, a sea of well trimmed green in an ocean of brown bracken. We paused at the club house.
                                             No golf at Christmas,it's Noel
Reaching the road we turned left and went to the village of Doddington. Should you visit the North East of the sceptered isle try some of Doddington's Ice Cream. Delicious. I think the farm started to make it in the last outbreak of Foot and Mouth when they were not allowed to ship milk and nobody told the cows to stop producing it. Comes in several flavours, my favourite is chocolate.
The village of Doddington has a 12th century church and a 16th century bastle, or fortified house, lower down the scale than a pele tower which in turn is lower than a castle.

 The church of St. Mary and St. Michael in Doddington. Note the lancet windows, early English.
From the village church we walked down a lane and across fields until we came to a bridge across the Till. The original single arch bridge was crumbling so a replacement had been built.

                                The Bridge on the River Till.
Immediately over the bridge  a marker directed us west and we followed it before coming to a barbed wire fence. Turning south we crossed several more very flat fields. I had the nerve to suggest to John H that this was the boring part of the walk, the land being flat and featureless. He agreed and also began to enquire why we seemed to be heading away from Wooler, the end point. Brian the leader silenced him. Eventually we came to the dismantled railway we hoped would bring us back to base  but the bridge crossing the Humbleton Burn had been destroyed, the stream was too wet to cross so we headed south round the edges of more fields until we hit the A697, turne left and walked back to the car park.
Surprisingly we called in at the ever welcoming Anglers Arms, Weldon Bridge. They served Tim Taylor's Golden Best, Directors and Speckled Hen. We look forward to the next AGM!

The matrix    MMXIV   U
                                                                       steps               miles
HiGear                                                           19514               8.86
Pink One                                                        25310              11.97
Dave's 3D                                                       23389             9.96
Dave's USB                                                    24247             10.42
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                    10.7
Brian's GPS                                                                            11.25
John C's                                                                                   11.53

Gadgie distance 397miles

Take a map, study it carefully, watch for markers don't follow us.
It was a good day for the bird watchers amongst us, and animal lovers too.
We saw fieldfares, long tailed tits, blue tits, crows, finches, ravens, buzzards and what we thought was a merlin. We also saw some deer running across fields towards the end of the walk and near Weetwood Hill we spottede a fox, the second one I have seen this week. (The first a large healthy looking dog fox in Gosforth Park Nature Reserve, Newcastle upon Tyne.) And we saw a bear near Doddington. There are few of these creatures in England.

                                                          Fantastic Mr Fox
                                           The magical merlin
                                               The Doddington bear. Looks a bit sad to me
                                           Maybe somebody ate his porage.